How quickly we forget

How quickly we forget

Where did I put my keys? When’s the library book due? Did I take my vitamins yet today? What’s the name of that person…the one I just met?

All day long, I’m reminded of my short memory. While I may be able to tell you exactly what happened the week before I graduated high school with vivid memory or spout out just when was the last time we all sat in the same room together, I also manage to forget everything.

I forget what life was like before toys were everywhere and a toddler was serving as my primary alarm clock. I forget the strength of the body of work I’ve created or what I’m capable of. I forget how brave I’ve been and the kind of incredible moments it’s caused. I forget who cares about me or what kind of impact I’ve had at some point. I forget the many goals I’ve achieved and bucket list items I’ve checked. I forget the places I’ve seen and people I’ve encountered. I forget what I’m working towards, what we’re aiming for at the end of the day, week, month, or year.

Because I’m not paying attention. 

I’m tired. I’m distracted. I’m bored. I’m lonely. I’m self-depricating. I’m jealous. I’m busy. I’m scared.

Here’s the thing, I think sometimes we’re living the lives of our dreams. We’ve forgotten that this, what we once wished for or only imagined, is what we’ve wanted all along. Instead of achievement or elation, we forget because we’ve already started dreaming and lusting after another life. We get to this point, wherever it may be and it isn’t everything we expected. So we move on and determine that this wasn’t the life we dreamed up, because it’s simply not enough (or too much). There’s still a struggle and grind toward that next hurdle to cross.

Now don’t misunderstand me when I say that sometimes we’re living our dreams because in reality, sometimes we are living our nightmares. This is not to make light of those very real and painful moments. There are seasons of grief or misery that strike, and those are most obviously not the lives we’ve dreamed of.  But those times may remind us of what we’ve forgotten, either in the moment or once we’ve gotten to the other side of the season. 

So what have I forgotten? That I spend time each day watching my son learn and grow. That I love the man I married. That we live in a space and city that suits our needs. That I am healthy and capable. That I’m working as a writer in a freelance capacity. That I have friends and a community to support me. That I have the opportunity to be creative, generous, and kind.

Junior high me is swooning right now. High school me is overjoyed. College me is amazed. Early twenties me is ecstatic. Mid-twenties me is thrilled. And late twenties me? Feeling forgetful but grateful.

Are there things in my life that aren’t ideal? Sure. Am I sometimes lonely or exhausted or bored or about to go crazy if I hear another battery-operated kid song? Yes, absolutely. But in so many ways, this moment I’ve landed on is fulfilling so many of my hopes and dreams. Therefore I want to live in celebration of what it is I have and what has been achieved. Instead of living in comparison or discontentment, I want to cherish and commemorate. Perhaps, this is as good as it’s going to get. You know what? I’ll take it, because in more ways than one, I’m living my dreams.

And that’s something I don’t want to forget.

What I should be doing

What I should be doing

I should be doing something else right now. Maybe it’s cleaning the kitchen, maybe it’s client work. Or maybe it’s as simple as getting dressed and brushing my teeth for the day.

There’s stuff to do. Things to read. Even more to write.

Why then do I sit staring at this blank canvas these days before moving on to things that pay or things that need cleaning or things that have seven more seasons of 40-minute-long episodes?

Do I take on more client work because it’s what I want to do? Or what I need to do? Do I prefer writing for them because there’s structure provided or an audience guaranteed?

I love writing, but lately, I don’t know what to say. By the time I get around to thinking of what it is I might most want to relay, the sound of distant cries increases in intensity. Suddenly, nowhere in our house is quite so distant.

So I wait. I wait for something big enough, important enough to write about. I wait for a moment when the work is done and the baby’s asleep and the house is clean. I wait for a reason to dust off the digital cobwebs on my blog.

And when the stars align and all of that is finally in place — I freeze. I look at my work and say, this isn’t good enough. It’s not strong enough to be the piece that sits at the top of the page for however long until I next get my moment.

I shouldn’t be writing about my inability to write freely these days. I should be writing about the injustice of racism and how videos from last weekend’s events left me in tears and outrage. I should be writing about taking a stand…but also, not having to do so on Facebook for it to officially count, lest we be caught up in a modern-day “If you love God…” forward email chain.

But if I’m not going to speak on all that, I should be professional and show my range of skills. I should show off some recent client work or write in a way that could attract the work I like to do. Write just like all the other articles I read and think, “I should try to do that too!”

If not professional, at least make it witty and fun. Share a little piece of our life or cute photo or something, right? What the heck is a blog for if it’s not to share some personal life with the world wide web in hopes of gaining a few new followers?

Is this blog still a thing? Should I give in and let go of the domain as the bill threatens will happen if I do not pay in 60 days? Take it off my portfolio website and just say, “trust me, I write”?

No, that isn’t the answer. I’ve got to keep going. Keep tapping the keys with my unusual yet somehow surprisingly effective self-taught typing ways. There’s more to work than getting paid. There’s more to the internet than showing off, seeking approval, or spreading hate.

There’s no one moment to act, do, write, or say. It’s over and over–again and again. Continuing to live and plod on, letting the tasks become habits. Those habits move toward discipline and eventually, a way of life.

So continue I’ll do.

Proof of Creativity

Proof of Creativity

There’s something about creativity that begs to be seen. Show me your big idea, let me read your work, play me a song, hang up your art, watch that video project.

And then the masses, they can say, “how nice, how artistic, how talented” you are at that thing. Or, of course, there’s also the risk of a negative response, or even worse, no response or acknowledgement whatsoever, leaving that creativity vulnerable and alone in the world.

But one is never enough. You need a body and collection of work. It can never be stagnant or stale. You think you’re a writer? You call yourself a musician? You want to be a videographer? You consider yourself an actress? You say you’re an artist, a dancer, a dreamer, a poet? Prove it. 

Instead of the love and the passion and the drive that once compelled such creativity, you find hustle and exhaustion and burnout. A world that says, if you don’t keep churning out more you’ll be lost and left behind by all the ones ready to chew you up and take your spot.

It places all of your worth into what you produce or your results. You’re only as good as your latest project, and it better be something recent, otherwise, what have you been doing all this time?

And not only that, but where’s the self-promotion, the curated pieces, the shows and the gigs and the countless fans along the way?

For the average creative, or maybe just for me, it’s too much. The hustle and chase and sacrifice is too great. Maybe that means I’ll never make it or never have my name in lights. I’d like to hope instead that it means that my creativity and my sense of self will still stay intact.

May the thoughts and dreams that excite me stay possibilities and perhaps even one day realities, instead of drowned out by the noise and expectations to keep the same rapid pace of someone else. May my success be simply gratitude for the ability to create and connect with others, instead of an addiction to constant adoration and attention that can never quite be fulfilled. May I find moments for creativity and inspiration but not feel it is my only or greatest legacy.

That’s not to say that hard work, dedication, and motivation have no place here. All of these make their home here, just as I welcome space, grace, rest, and relationships. It’s about finding a balance and enjoyment instead of making chores out of the things I love.

So, for the last few months the blog has been quiet. This time I don’t think I’ll try to promise a revitalization coming soon but just let it happen as it happens. As for creative side projects, our music has been getting more of my energy and effort for the time being. At work, my writing and editing has continued. At home, we’ve chosen to listen to the need for rest when it comes, to celebrate weekend afternoons relaxing on the porch or rolling on the floor with our little one.

Does my work say something? Sure, sometimes. But more importantly, I’d like my life to speak louder. Not through fame or failures, but through my faith, family, and friendships.

 

Putting it into Perspective

Putting it into Perspective

There’s this thing that we use to shape our experiences and thoughts called perspective. It’s the vantage point from which we view life, our attitudes, and opinions. Perspective often helps us see beyond ourselves–to take in more information and look at the big picture or to be sensitive to small details that make a big impact.

But sometimes, we abuse that perspective. We compare bad situations to dire ones and suddenly feel like there is no need for help or improvement. We say things like, “Because this isn’t THAT, it’s fine” or “I’ve had worse” or “His situation is really bad, so I shouldn’t mind mine.”

While usually said with good intentions and can be stated a way to lessen the blow to some bad news or issue…it can also lead to a misrepresentation of the reality in a situation.

Do we need to cry over a stubbed toe like we would for cancer? No. Should we be grateful for what we have? Absolutely. But is there still room for growth and improvement and action? Most likely.

For example, my baby cries when his diaper needs changing (you’d think the world was ending by the way he shrieks, but no, it’s just wet). If I said to him, “Don’t you know you have such a good life and are well taken care of? Not all kids are as lucky as you!“–that would be true, but wouldn’t change the fact that his diaper is dirty and needs to be addressed. Looking only at the good but ignoring the immediate issue doesn’t actually solve anything. Instead, it diminishes his cries for help and perpetuates the problem.

Perhaps, there is reason to be upset or to seek improvement, and we need to be open to that. We need to have a self-awareness about what is happening so we can best address it. Maybe that means acknowledging a loss or celebrating a win. Saying things aren’t where they should be or could be at work or in a relationship. Admitting there are areas in life that need improvement, be it health, organization, motivation, or otherwise. Maybe it means being proactive in realizing that things are good now, but they aren’t to be taken for granted or assumed.

So to put it all in perspective, could things be worse? Sure. Could they be better? Perhaps. Either way, it’s worth being realistic about the present situation in order to best address it.

 

Thursday Three

Look at me…two weeks in a row of a Thursday Three. It’s almost like a trend or something.

1. Balance is key. We’ve practically been living in a season of survival the past few months. Only in the past week or two have we started to reintroduce exercising, playing music, and making space for individual creativity. So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop while writing my thoughts–totally baby-free. As a couple and as a family, we’re asking the question of how to find balance in our lives and somehow make it work for everybody. It requires some planning and some sacrifice, but it seems to be worth it in the end. If you have tips and systems that have worked well for you, I’d definitely be interested in hearing them.

2. My phone is overloaded with pictures of my kid. (So much for balance, eh?) I know I’m biased, but I think he’s pretty stinking cute. To be honest, I haven’t figured out what I think about sharing countless photos on the internet (of him or me, really). Maybe one here or there. Occasionally, I send some photos of him in a text to people I think might want to see the latest facial expression or outfit he’s rocking. Like everything, I’m overthinking it and questioning how much I want him to be all over the internet. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do think it’s worth considering what we are putting online and what the long-term impact might be. Ugh. The world is crazy and the future of the internet is a mystery to me. I know I can’t protect him from everything, but I do have some responsibility as a parent to look out for him and his well-being. So, please humor me while I think it over and know that the photos might be sparse in the meantime. (But what the heck? I can’t add a photo from my week without including him because he’s in ALL the photos…so here you go, a week’s worth all at once).

baby pics

3. We need each other. I’ve heard and read so many thoughts and feelings this past week regarding the election and the actions that have followed. Frankly, it’s hard to sort through it all. Last week, all I could say was that kindness was the first place I planned to start. I think the thing I’ve found to be true in it all is how much we need to support and love one another as a community, a city, a state, and a country. There’s so much that has already been said on the internet, and I don’t want to pretend I have something big or profound to add. I just think that at the bottom of it all, we each want love and support. We want someone to say, “I’m for you and I’m with you.” I think that means seeing a need amongst the people around you and filling it. It can mean showing up, even without being asked. It means prayer, money, food, time, and energy given to someone else or for someone else. As much as living in isolation or only surrounded by those who think and feel the exact same as we do sounds nice (and can have its place from time to time), the strength and mutual respect/understanding that can be gained by recognizing that we need each other is invaluable.

Finding the “ME” in Motherhood

Finding the “ME” in Motherhood

Say it with me, “m-m-m-other.”

While I may have graduated with a minor in English, I didn’t really study the origins of words and what they mean. But can we just stop for one minute and look at that? “Mother” is mostly made up of the word “other,” and that’s basically what it feels like.  

In the beginning of September, I entered into a new life that I’d like to go ahead and now call “otherhood” (but let’s be real, it really started the moment I got pregnant regardless of what the world says). My life revolves around another now. A little guy who just has constant needs. Then there’s the revolving door of guests and well-wishers, family, and oh yeah, my husband. All people I love and care about, but all others that need or want something from me.

Thankfully I’ve had a lot of supportive people around who have offered help, but a lot of times it still requires so much on my part, be it planning, packing, or pumping. Even now, I type this slowly between patting the back of the fussy infant lying on my chest.

Not long ago, my husband talked about his want to hold onto his individuality, and then said he hoped I could do the same. A simple, well-meaning comment but all I could respond with was, “I didn’t even have time to eat lunch today. How am I supposed to have time for individuality?”

 Needless to say, finding the balance between being selfish and saving a sense of self is difficult. Are children a blessing? Yes. Do I love my kid? Yes. Do I want to be a good mom? Yes. Do I want a vacation already? Yes.

I miss running to the grocery store for just one thing without it being a huge ordeal. I miss planning jam-packed trips to new places. I miss sleeping whenever I want for as long as I want. I miss accomplishing the one thing I set out to do in a given day. I miss not needing to know what time it is and calculating how much time before this baby next needs to eat/sleep. I miss writing whenever inspiration hits.

This isn’t one big list of complaints. I never knew how much one kid’s smile could change the entire feel of the day. Or how many stories I could possibly tell about poop. Or how hard I would fight for quality time with my husband, even if just for a ten minute conversation in the car.

It’s an honor to be a mom, but I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it. There are more moments than I care to admit that I wonder when I’ll feel like myself again or daydream of going and doing whatever I please.

I love my little family and am so grateful for them, but I think it’s okay to admit that the transition into motherhood is a lot to take on. That both holding onto who I was and embracing who I must become is a challenge. Finding the right balance between what I want and need while fulfilling my duties as a wife, mom, and friend is not always easy. These are worthwhile struggles though, ones I’m sure I’ll be wrestling with for the foreseeable future.

While the word “other” is prominent in “motherhood,” the word “me” is in there too once you piece it together. 

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

This is just going to have to be a whopper of a post because it has been SO LONG since I’ve written a Thursday Three. But let’s face it, I’m still too lazy to think up five things for a Friday Five. So, Thursday Three it is. Let’s catch up on the big things from the last few months, shall we?

1. We had a kid. A cute, kicking, crying, smiling kid is now under our constant care and responsibility. Poor thing. We’re two months in, and so far we all seem to love each other a whole lot. Granted, he loves his cloud mobile hanging over the changing table more than anything else in the world, but we like to pretend he is keen on us as well. We sure are smitten.

bunny mobile

2. We released an album. It’s perfectly normal to release your biggest creative endeavor the same month as having a baby, right? Hold the applause because the reality is, most of it was done months ago, but it was time to finally put on the finishing touches and send it out into the world. So we did. You (and your mom and whoever else is interested) are more than welcome to listen to it and even download it for free (or pay what you want…but mostly, we want people to hear it even more than we want them to pay for it). 

remember-me-album-cover

3. Kindness is key. In the past few months we have been the recipient of so much love and kindness, and I am incredibly grateful. My hope is to also spread kindness to those around me, whether in return for the kindness I’ve received or just out of love and grace. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to write something without responding to the election results and the feelings of everyone around me. There’s a lot going on, and it’s difficult to know what to do. But I think we all know how to be kind and can start there. That’s my plan at least.